Tom Jackson is a former professional linebacker. During his college career, he was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year in 1970 and 1972. Jackson led the Louisville Cardinals in tackles all three years and led the team to an overall record of 23-7-2.
Jackson played for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, where he was part of the "Orange Crush Defense". Jackson was also a major component in the defense which led the Broncos to Super Bowl XXI against the New York Giants. Jackson was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a 14-year career in Denver where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, a four-time All-Pro selection, and was voted Denver's Most Inspirational Player six times by his teammates. He also helped lead the team to championship appearances in Super Bowl XII and Super Bowl XXI. As of 2021, Jackson ranks third only to Jason Elam and John Elway on the team's all-time list of games played with 191.
After his playing career ended, he enjoyed a successful 29-year run as an NFL analyst for ESPN. He was given the Pete Rozelle Award for excellence in broadcasting by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.